by ARLnow.com — November 24, 2015 at 9:15 am 0

Moon leaf (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Prosecutor: Black Asked for Help Killing Wife — At a bond hearing Monday, prosecutors said that David Black asked a friend to help kill his wife in a classic case of domestic violence. Black was denied bond and will remain in jail, charged with killing his estranged wife Bonnie Black in their home near Pentagon City. The trial is set for Feb. 29. [WUSA 9]

One of the Worst Traffic Bottlenecks — Arlington has one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country, according to the American Highway Users Alliance. I-395 between Washington Blvd and the GW Parkway ranked No. 26 on the list, wasting 1.1 million hours and 322,600 gallons of fuel annually. [WTOP]

TSA HQ Move May Be Delayed — The Transportation Security Administration’s headquarters may be staying in Pentagon City past 2017 after all. A judge has halted the TSA’s move to Alexandria in response to a protest of the lease bidding process by a losing bidder. [Government Executive]

Arlington GOP May Ditch Office — In order to save money, the Arlington County Republican Committee is considering giving up the $1,100 per month office it rents in the Dominion Arms apartment building. [InsideNova]

See Something, Type Something — Arlington County’s website has a “Homeland Security Tip Form,” for reporting “suspicious activity that may be related to terrorism” in Arlington. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Mariah Joyce — June 23, 2015 at 2:15 pm 3,741 0

The funding for the half-finished renovations to the Lyon Park Community Center may be in jeopardy.

In November of 2014, the Lyon Park Citizens Association voted to take out a $600,000 line of credit from Cardinal Bank to help fund the $1.2 million renovations. The vote was almost evenly split, with those who opposed the motion saying they were concerned about the park and community center being used as collateral to obtain the loan.

Now, the resulting legal wrangling over the loan has resulted in a ruling that will prevent it from being issued, at least as originally planned.

When the LPCA approved the motion to take out a line of credit, a group of seven residents referred to in court documents as the “Concerned Lyon Park Beneficiaries” opposed the petition in court. Their concerns were outlined in a flyer circulated to the community.

The opposition, filed Nov. 7 2014, states that the residents in question feel the Board encumbered the park “under imprudent conditions,” and that the residents “have reasonable and legal concerns regarding the ability of the community to re-pay this sizeable loan, and the resulting ramifications of a loan default.”

(Encumber is a legal term meaning that the property was placed in position where more than one party had a valid legal claim on it; if the park were used as collateral for a loan, both Cardinal Bank and the Lyon Park community would have valid claims.)

Another court document pertaining to the case dated July 30, 2014, states that “recently two trustees [of Lyon Park] resigned because each refused to sign documents pertaining to a $600,000 bank loan for a planned renovation of the community house. The appointment of successor trustees is far from a routine appointment.”

Since its inception in 1925, Lyon Park has had trustees appointed by the community to hold the deed to the park on behalf of all residents. When a loan is taken out for the park, the trustees have been the ones to sign the documents. Court documents also state that the park has been put up as collateral for a loan at least twice before, in 1925 for $2,500 and 1927 for $3,000.

Circuit Court judge Jonathan Thacher ruled last month that the latest loan was improperly filed. While the decision doesn’t prohibit the Board of Governors from using the park as collateral for a loan, that option is effectively closed to the community because at least one of the seven residents who challenged the Board’s decision in court indicated that he or she would also oppose any future filings, thus imposing burdensome legal costs, according to Lyon Park Community Center Chair Jeannette Wick.

“We are going to exclusively pursue options that don’t involve encumbering the park,” said Wick. “We’d like to go forward without further litigation — we could end up tied up in court forever.”

After the judge ruled, Wick said the Board came up with a table of options which included:

  • Raising enough money that a loan would not be required.
  • Working with Cardinal Bank to find a way to borrow without encumbering the park.
  • Stopping construction completely.

According to Wick, with more than half a million dollars still required for renovations, the first option is unrealistic even with neighbors’ “incredible generosity.” The second option is still being explored, but is proving difficult because thus far Cardinal Bank has insisted on collateral. Wick described the third option as undesirable for several reasons.

“It would be bad for the neighborhood, it’s costly to stop construction and having an unfinished building on our property creates an attractive nuisance for thefts and squatters,” said Wick. “Right now, we’re searching for some sort of happy medium between option one and option three.”

Wick estimates residents have donated about $500,000 towards the project thus far, including roughly $85,000 since June 1.

“Everyone that I have talked to has been united in the view that ‘It’s halfway done, we need to move forward,'” said Wick. “If you look at the donation map, giving has been robust throughout the community — this isn’t a project where it’s a one-man show or only a few people want it.”

Kevin Baer, a resident who opposed putting the park up as collateral, said that he and other concerned residents “look forward to continuing to work together in the neighborhood to find a prudent way forward.”

The renovations to the center, currently in progress, include making the building ADA compliant, adding a sun room, and improving the kitchen and bathrooms.

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2015 at 4:40 pm 2,060 0

The ART bus driver who was involved in a seven-vehicle wreck along Columbia Pike in December has been found not guilty of reckless driving.

The verdict was reached today after a trial held before Arlington County General District Court Judge Richard McCue. Agere Sileshi, 27, was found not guilty of the original charge of reckless driving, but was found guilty of “improper driving.”

Sileshi faces a $250 fine but no jail time on the charge, which “embodies a finding by the Court that the ‘degree of culpability is slight,'” according her attorney, Alexandria attorney Joseph Blaszkow. Sileshi has been on medical leave since the incident, Blaszkow said.

According to court testimony, Sileshi was driving her bus through the parking lot of the Columbia Pike Plaza shopping center when a car suddenly turned in front of her. Sileshi struck the car and then drove her bus through a retaining wall and onto S. Dinwiddie Street, striking several additional vehicles.

Altogether, five passenger vehicle, a mixing truck and several bicycles were damaged in the crash. Three vehicle occupants and a pedestrian were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

by ARLnow.com — May 13, 2015 at 9:15 am 2,303 0

Crowd of commuters outside waiting outside the Rosslyn Metro station on Monday (Flickr pool photo by Alves Family)

NORAD Flyover Exercise Tonight — NORAD will conduct a flyover exercise tonight that may be noticed by Arlington residents. The exercise will take place between midnight and 2:00 a.m. [Twitter]

Bean Kinney Attorney’s Attack Detailed in Court — In court testimony in Fairfax County, attorney Leo Fisher and his wife, Susan Duncan, described the vicious home invasion attack allegedly carried out by the husband of an attorney Fisher fired at the Arlington law firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman. Fisher said the man “slit my throat” and Duncan described being stabbed repeatedly in the upper body and being nearly shot in the head. [Washington Post]

No ‘Real Solution’ Yet for Pike Transit — An urban design and transportation writer is alleging that Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt has yet to propose an effective alternative to the planned Columbia Pike streetcar system he helped to scuttle. [Greater Greater Washington]

More School Board Endorsements — In the race for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board, candidates have picked up some key endorsements in the past week. Former School Board member and current County Board member Libby Garvey says she’s endorsing Sharon Dorsey, as is former School Board member Frank Wilson. Reid Goldstein, meanwhile, has picked up the endorsements of County Board Chair Mary Hynes and former School Board member Ed Fendley.

Flickr pool photo by Alves Family

by ARLnow.com — April 21, 2015 at 9:15 am 3,213 0

Lightning over Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by J. Peterson)

Australian Restaurant Coming to Clarendon — Oz, a new Australian restaurant, will be opening in the former La Tagliatella space in Clarendon late this summer. The restaurant is owned by Australian native Michael Darby, co-founder of Monument Realty, and his wife Ashley Darby, the 2011 Miss District of Columbia winner. [Washington Business Journal]

New Ballston Apartment Project in the Works — Saul Centers, which developed the Clarendon Center project, is planning a new residential and retail development on the Orange Line. The developer is in the early stages of proposing a 12-story, 431-unit apartment building to replace the Rosenthal Mazda dealership at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd. [Washington Business Journal]

Parking Lot Hit-and-Run Case in Court — A court hearing was held Monday for Alexandra Mendez, the woman accused of running over a man in a Columbia Pike parking lot and then fleeing the scene. Prosecutors showed the court a cell phone video of the incident, which nearly killed 40-year-old Noormustafa “Noor” Shaikh. A doctor testified that Shaikh’s “bones were like shards” after being run over by Mendez in her SUV. [WJLA]

Arlington Highly Ranked by AARP — Arlington County is the 6th most livable place in the U.S. with a population between 100,000 and 500,000, according to a new survey by AARP. Also in the AARP survey, Arlington ranked No. 1 in the “Best Cities for Staying Healthy” category, thanks to an abundance of exercise opportunities. The survey targeted Americans age 50 and older. [WTOP]

VHC and County Considering Land Swap — Virginia Hospital Center and Arlington County have started discussing a possible land swap. The swap would trade soon-to-be-vacated county properties adjacent to the hospital — which would allow VHC to expand — for hospital property elsewhere in the county. Virginia Hospital Center, meanwhile, is getting kudos from the federal government. According to new hospital rankings from Medicare, VHC is the only “four star” hospital in the D.C. area. [InsideNova, Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by J. Peterson

by ARLnow.com — February 23, 2015 at 4:30 pm 3,592 0

Benjamin Andruss (Photo courtesy ACPD)Benjamin Andruss, who pleaded guilty in October to hitting a pedestrian while drunkenly driving the wrong way on Wilson Blvd in Clarendon, has received a jail sentence.

Andruss will spend 9 months in jail, after Arlington Circuit Court Judge Daniel Fiore handed down a 5 year sentence, with all but the 9 months suspended.

Andruss was also ordered to pay restitution of $70,000, perform 100 hours of community service and spend 5 years on supervised probation — all while remaining sober and submitting to random testing.

During the sentencing, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh Katcher said the case was not one of somebody having one too many drinks at dinner and getting pulled over. A friend had urged Andruss not to drive after he consumed 4-5 beers and three glasses of whiskey at a Ballston bar, but he ignored the friend’s pleas and proceeded to drive recklessly through crowded streets.

The pedestrian Andruss struck, meanwhile, suffered debilitating injuries as a result of the crash.

Wrong-way driver strikes pedestrian in Clarendon (Photo courtesy @jacksmith023)“Mr. Andruss… overindulged, was told not to drive, did so anyway, ended up driving the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, and caused [the victim] to suffer permanent impairment,” Katcher said. “After a period of incarceration, Mr. Andruss will start to put this behind him. [The victim] will never be able to do so.”

“Cases like this truly reveal how serious this community takes drunk driving,” Katcher told ARLnow.com. “The judge’s decision to depart from the sentencing guideline” — which called for only probation — “hopefully sends a strong signal to the community.”

Details about the crash, from our previous article:

The crash happened between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12. Prosecutors say Andruss had just left First Down Sports Bar in Ballston, where he had consumed 4-5 beers and three glasses of whiskey while watching afternoon football games. A friend encouraged him to take a cab, but Andruss insisted on driving.

Andruss drove from the Ballston Common Mall parking garage to Clarendon, revving the engine of his Mercedes-Benz at stop lights and “speeding the whole way,” prosecutors said. At the intersection of Wilson, Clarendon and Washington Blvds, he again revved his engine at the stop light, then accelerated straight through the intersection when the light turned green.

Andruss sped the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, past Spider Kelly’s and other bars. His Mercedes ran up on the sidewalk, striking the side of the Clarendon War Memorial. In his path was a pedestrian, a man around 30 years old who works for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The pedestrian tried to dive out of the way, but Andruss struck a parked car, which then struck the pedestrian. The man regained consciousness in the middle of the street.

by Ethan Rothstein — January 23, 2015 at 10:00 am 4,642 0

From left, Cpl. Joseph Ferguson, Judge Thomas Kelley Jr., Cpl. Phyllis Henderson and Cpl. Edwin Hill (photo courtesy Maj. Susie Doyel)(Updated at 11:55 a.m.) An Arlington General District Court judge saved a man’s life in his courtroom Thursday morning, performing CPR after the victim suffered a heart attack.

The victim was testifying at the trial of an alleged trespasser when he started “gasping for air,” his friend George told ARLnow.com. George, who declined to give his last name or his friend’s name, alerted Judge Thomas J. Kelley Jr., who cleared out the courtroom and came down from the bench to render aid.

When it became apparent that the victim was having a heart attack, Kelley laid him on the floor and started performing chest compressions, George said. Sheriff’s deputies Edwin Hill and Phyllis Henderson assisted Kelley and performed mouth-to-mouth, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Maj. Susie Doyel.

“It was a flash, [Kelley] was down off that bench in a hurry,” George said. “When I got to the hospital, the EMTs stabilized him and said whoever performed CPR on him probably saved his life.”

George and the heart attack victim are childhood friends and Arlington natives, and the victim’s house was allegedly broken into recently, which is why they were in court.

Between the time Kelley began administering CPR and paramedics arrived, George said the victim began breathing and regained his pulse — but then his heart stopped again, prompting the hero judge and deputies to begin CPR again.

“The judge had control of everything. He didn’t blink,” George said. Later Thursday afternoon, after ensuring his friend was in stable condition, George went back to the court house to thank Kelley. “He was telling me he had [performed CPR] years back and he was glad he still had the skill set.”

Photo courtesy Maj. Susie Doyel

by ARLnow.com — October 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm 4,033 0

A man who got drunk, sped down the wrong way of a one-way street in Clarendon and caused a crash that seriously injured a pedestrian earlier this year has pleaded guilty to a felony charge.

Pentagon City resident Benjamin Andruss, 37, pleaed guilty yesterday to felony DUI maiming. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February.

The crash happened between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12. Prosecutors say Andruss had just left First Down Sports Bar in Ballston, where he had consumed 4-5 beers and three glasses of whiskey while watching afternoon football games. A friend encouraged him to take a cab, but Andruss insisted on driving.

Andruss drove from the Ballston Common Mall parking garage to Clarendon, revving the engine of his Mercedes-Benz at stop lights and “speeding the whole way,” prosecutors said. At the intersection of Wilson, Clarendon and Washington Blvds, he again revved his engine at the stop light, then accelerated straight through the intersection when the light turned green.

Andruss sped the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, past Spider Kelly’s and other bars. His Mercedes ran up on the sidewalk, striking the side of the Clarendon War Memorial. In his path was a pedestrian, a man around 30 years old who works for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The pedestrian tried to dive out of the way, but Andruss struck a parked car, which then struck the pedestrian. The man regained consciousness in the middle of the street.

From a statement of facts entered by prosecutors as part of the plea:

He was taken by ambulance to GW Hospital, where he was treated for numerous injuries to his head and left elbow. Both required serious treatment. His head required more than a dozen staples. His broken elbow required surgery, the insertion of a metal plate, and screws to ensure regained functionality. The elbow now has a permanent visible scar. And [the victim], despite weeks of physical therapy, has yet to regain – and may never regain – a full range of motion.

After the crash, the Defendant exited the vehicle and appeared to try to walk away. He was prevented from doing so by onlookers. The Defendant was described as unsteady on his feet, with slurred speech and bloodshot/glassy eyes. He repeatedly “fell” into an officer’s arms as they spoke. The Defendant admitted to drinking and refused to perform all field sobriety tests. He was placed under arrest at 9:20pm.

“Mr. Andruss made a series of poor decisions that evening,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh Katcher told ARLnow.com. “He drank too much, he didn’t take a cab, he drove recklessly from Ballston to Clarendon, and then he drove the wrong way, down the wrong street, at the wrong time.”

“Try to imagine this from the victim’s perspective: he’s minding his own business, walking down a sidewalk, when he hears an engine revving, sees a set of headlights speeding towards him, and has no more than a second to try to dive out of the way,” Katcher continued. “Next thing he knows he is on his back in the middle of the street with people looking down at him telling him not to move. This is the type of mayhem that happens when people drink and drive. There is no defense, no reason, and no excuse for this type of behavior.”

Andruss is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6, 2015. He’s expected to receive a sentence of 1-5 years in prison.

This is not the only legal trouble Andruss is facing. Three days after the crash he was fired, and a week after that he was sued by his former employer, accused of making hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of improper purchases on his company credit card and withdraws from the company checking account, all while deliberately concealing evidence of his actions.

by ARLnow.com — October 1, 2014 at 10:45 am 4,109 0

Michael Gardner (photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff's Office)Michael Gardner, the Falls Church resident whose 2012 sexual battery conviction was overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court earlier this year, has been indicted in another molestation case.

Gardner was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated sexual battery of a child after an Arlington Circuit Court grand jury returned two indictments on Monday. He’s being held without bond at the Arlington County jail.

The indictment charges Gardner with the molestation of a female family member who was under 13 years of age at the time. The two alleged offenses took place in 2009.

“The allegations came to light only after Gardner was released from prison after his conviction was overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court,” Falls Church authorities said in a press release this morning. “The victim in the most recent case related the incident to an individual who, by law, is a mandated reporter of child abuse allegations.”

Gardner’s next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 6. He is also facing a new trial in the previous molestation case. That trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 2, 2015.

Gardner was originally convicted in May 2012 of molesting two girls during a sleepover birthday party for his daughter in 2011. Gardner is a former chairman of the Falls Church City Democratic Committee and his wife, Robin Gardner, was formerly mayor of Falls Church.

Gardner’s attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.

Photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff’s Office

by Ethan Rothstein — August 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm 2,682 0

Aman Lail (Photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff's OfficeThe driver who killed an Alexandria man in a drunk driving accident in Rosslyn on Jan. 24 pleaded guilty to DUI aggravated involuntary manslaughter today.

Aman Singh Lail, 24, was traveling eastbound on Lee Highway when his Jeep Wrangler slammed into the car of 24-year-old Saqlain Chowdhury at 2:09 a.m. Chowdhury was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where he died.

The accident happened a block away from where Lail’s friend, Sami Ullah, died after driving 90 mph over Key Bridge 10 months earlier.

Lail pleaded guilty in Arlington Circuit Court this morning, and will face sentencing from Judge Louise DiMatteo on Nov. 14.

Lail, a Baltimore resident, had almost three dozen traffic violations on his record in Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington counties since 2008, including a driving while intoxicated arrest in Arlington in 2009 and a DWI conviction in Fairfax County in 2012, according to prosecutors. Lail faces between one and 20 years in prison.

“On Jan. 24, 2014, Aman Lail decided to endanger the National Capital Region by driving drunk,” Deputy Police Chief Daniel Murray said in a press release. “This decision cost Saqlain Chowdhury his life. The aggressive investigation and prosecution by the Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team has resulted in today’s plea. While there is nothing that will bring Mr. Chowdhury back to his family, at least Aman Lail will not present a danger to the community as long as he remains behind bars.”

The case was prosecuted by Deputy Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay Burkholder.

“The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is pleased that the defendant entered guilty pleas today, but there are no good outcomes here,” Burkholder said. “Our thoughts continue to be with the victim’s family and friends as they struggle with this tragedy.”

Photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff’s Office

by ARLnow.com — July 29, 2014 at 10:15 am 3,829 0

LGBT rainbow flag (image via Wikipedia)(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) If a federal appeals court ruling goes unchallenged, Arlington County Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson says his office is prepared to “start issuing marriage licenses to same sex applicants immediately.”

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond upheld a lower court’s decision that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. State Sen. Adam Ebbin who represents part of Arlington and was the first openly gay member of the Virginia General Assembly, applauded the court’s decision.

“This victory for liberty is in keeping with Jefferson’s admonition that ‘laws and institutions must go hand and hand with the progress of the human mind,'” Ebbin said in a statement. “As the birthplace of America’s civil liberties, it is especially fitting that Virginia provides full equality to all of her citizens.”

The ruling will not take effect for 21 days, according to news reports, and could be put on hold indefinitely if those seeking to uphold the marriage ban are granted a stay while appealing to the full appellate court or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ferguson, who participates in an annual pro-gay marriage demonstration in Arlington, said he believes the appeals process will continue to drag out.

“From what I have heard, it is likely that a stay will be asked for and granted by the Fourth Circuit consistent with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Utah case,” Ferguson told ARLnow.com Monday afternoon. “If the stay is granted, it is likely we will need to wait until the Supreme Court rules.”

Ferguson said he expects to receive guidance from Virginia’s Democratic attorney general, Mark Herring, “in the near future.”

Should a stay not be granted, however, Ferguson said “the Arlington Circuit Court Clerk’s office will issue marriage licenses to same sex applicants as soon as we are certain they would be valid.”

“It is possible that the court could rule rejecting the stay sooner,” he said. Asked about the possibility of a crush of gay and lesbian couples seeking marriage licenses, Ferguson said his office “will do our best to accommodate applicants in a timely manner.”

by ARLnow.com — June 6, 2014 at 10:00 am 1,957 0

Reagan National Airport

Dump Truck Driver Found Guilty in Woman’s Death — The driver of a dump truck that struck and killed a 39-year-old mother of three in February has been found guilty of “failing to pay full time and attention.” Marvin Valladares, 33, was sentenced to 10 days in jail with four suspended. [WTOP, WJLA]

Pentagon Centre Redevelopment Plans Change — A plan to redevelop the Pentagon Centre shopping center is being changed. Owner Kimco Realty Corp. now wants to build two residential buildings on the site before building two office buildings and a hotel. Pentagon Centre is currently home to Best Buy, Costco and other big box retailers. If the plan is approved, it and other Pentagon City development projects could result in “a deluge of roughly 4,000 new residential units in a decade.” [Washington Business Journal]

Lane Closures Planned for Parade — A number of lanes will be closed in the area of Four Mile Run on Saturday for the Corso de Santa Cruz Parade. [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — May 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm 49,607 0

James Denham Watson (photo courtesy ACPD)An Arlington (Va.) man has been convicted of assault and battery in a strange case that received national and even international attention.

James Watson, 32, was found guilty this week of beating up his roommate after the roommate drew a penis on his face while he slept. An Arlington County Circuit Court judge sentenced Watson to a $1,250 fine and restitution on the misdemeanor charge, but no additional jail time.

During trial, the jury was told that Watson and his two roommates were out drinking in Clarendon on a Friday night last March. When they returned to their Lyon Village home, Watson fell asleep on the couch with his shoes on, prompting the victim decided to prank him by drawing a penis on his face with a black dry erase marker, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ben Inman, who prosecuted the case.

Watson awoke and “felt a tingling on his face,” leading him to use a mirror function on his phone. Upon seeing the cartoonish genitalia, Inman said, Watson went upstairs and began repeatedly punching the victim in the face. The victim testified that we awoke to Watson punching him, while Watson argued that a heated verbal argument preceded a physical fight between the two men. The third roommate corroborated the victim’s story, said Inman.

As a result of the assault, the victim suffered a broken nose, an eye that was swollen shut and other facial injuries, according to police and prosecutors.

The victim testified that pranks were a part of life in the home, and that it was a “house rule” that one would be drawn on should they pass out with their shoes on. Watson argued that he was aware of no such rule.

The victim also told the jury that he had tested the marker on his arm before using it, and that the black mark had come right off. Watson said he tried but could not remove the penis drawing from his face.

In recommending no jail time, the jury might have felt sorry for Watson and the negative attention, media and otherwise, he received as a result of the genitalia on his face.

“He was an object of ridicule in jail that weekend because he still had the penis drawn on his face,” Inman told ARLnow.com. Watson made bail early the following week.

Watson is scheduled to be back in Circuit Court in July as a result of the conviction. He was previously tried on felony charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer in 2012, but the imposition of sentence was suspended on the condition of good behavior. That suspension could be revoked, leading to possible jail time or other punishment.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm 3,117 0

Farhan Khan (photo courtesy ACPD)A 22-year-old Alexandria man received a net seven year prison sentence today after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the Christmas Eve 2012 death of a pedestrian in Ballston.

Farhan Khan was sentenced today in Arlington Circuit Court for the death of Shabnam Motahhar-Tehrani, 32, who was killed in the accident at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Randolph Street. Khan was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with three years suspended. Additionally, his driver’s license will be revoked and he will be on probation for 10 years after his release, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay Burkholder.

Witnesses said Khan was driving between 50-60 mph when he ran a red light and struck another vehicle. The collision caused his vehicle to spin out and hit Tehrani, who was standing on the sidewalk of Glebe Road. Khan had been cited eight times for previous moving violations, including for speeding the day before the fatal accident, Burkholder said.

“The defendant’s driving behavior was extraordinarily dangerous, particularly because of his excessive speed, the rainy road conditions, and the flagrant manner in which he ran the red light,” Burkholder told ARLnow.com. “Considering his extensive history of speeding, including an offense the day before this accident, and the fact that his gross negligence directly caused the death of Ms. Motahhar-Tehrani, we believed that a significant sentence was appropriate. We are grateful to the Court for its consideration of the evidence.”

The maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter is 10 years in prison. Video of the accident was captured by a camera on a Metrobus that was stopped at the intersection, and it was introduced as evidence against Khan, Burkholder said.

Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department

by Ethan Rothstein — January 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm 0

Zoraida Magali Conde Hernandez (photo via ACPD)(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) The Alexandria woman whose infant died after being locked in a hot car for six hours on a sweltering July day pleaded guilty today to felony child neglect.

Zoraida Magal Conde Hernandez, 32, submitted an Alford plea, meaning she accepts the verdict without technically admitting guilt in the case. Hernandez and Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos agreed to two years and six months of probation, and, barring a violation, a dismissal of charges after that.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Molly Newton said Hernandez, after dropping two other children off at their summer activities in Alexandria, forgot that her 8-month-old son was strapped in his car seat when she drove to her job at the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and locked her car in the parking lot.

Newton said it was only when she picked up her 3-year-old daughter on July 5 at 3:30 p.m. did she notice the baby was purple and not breathing. Hernandez then drove to Inova Alexandria Hospital, where the baby was pronounced dead from hyperthermia with an internal temperature of 108 degrees.

“It has been a very difficult case for everyone involved,” Newton told the judge. “We’ve always believed the case has been a crime. The reaction from the community has not been such.”

Newton said that sympathy for the mother in similar cases has led to acquittals despite the evidence. Stamos said after the plea hearing that, in some jurisdictions, Hernandez’s crime wouldn’t bring charges. It’s unusual, Stamos said, for a felony case to “be adjudicated without a finding of guilt.”

“Clearly there are strong views on either side of this,” Stamos said. “It was difficult for the arresting officer, the medical examiner and the physicians involved.”

Stamos said an incident of a child dying in a hot car hadn’t happened in Arlington in 28 years. If Hernandez had been found guilty by a jury, she could have been incarcerated for anywhere from one day to five years. Newton said that, because Hernandez was incarcerated for two weeks before and after her bond hearing, the Commonwealth’s Attorney felt further incarceration wasn’t necessary.

“We want her to be accountable,” Newton said. “By entering this plea, she is. She has done everything we have wanted her to do.”

Hernandez’s other four children are still with Child Protective Services in Alexandria, and her case is making its way through that city’s administrative and court system, Newton said. Hernandez didn’t noticeably react during the proceeding, which took a little less than a half hour, even when Newton read the prosecution’s account of July 5’s event.

Photo via ACPD


Subscribe to our mailing list